Stitching Through the Pain: Stretches for Knitters and Crocheters

Oh, how I love to crochet and knit. These crafts give me so much peace and pleasure. Unfortunately, they also give me pain. This is a cautionary tale.

I have been over doing it with my crochet lately because I am a professional who meets who deadlines. I am also someone who heavily relies upon the hooks and needles to stop me from committing homicide being too unpleasant when confronted with day to day stress. Faced with several deadlines and many stresses, I crocheted until my neck, back and arm screamed out in pain. Well, I can’t stop crocheting because failing to meet the deadlines it will add to my stress which can only be relieved by more knitting and crocheting. See, it’s a vicious cycle.

Realizing that a trip to the doctor would only result in admonishment to stop crocheting along with a prescription for Vicodin, I ran to my medicine cabinet for the first stop on the pain train — my good friend, ibuprofen. Until now my friend has rarely failed me, but it didn’t take long to see that this pain was calling for more drastic measures. Next, I ran out and got a massage, which was completely wonderful and did help a little. By the way, you know you are crocheting too much when the massage therapist, faced with all the knots in your neck and back, asks you if you’ve recently been in an accident, but I digress.

Being unwilling to resort to stronger drugs and unable to indulge in daily visits to the spa, it was time to resort to more self-help. So at this point I dug out the stretching exercises I should have been doing all along renewed my regular stretching routine though without much success. This is obviously not unlike closing the proverbial barn door after the horse has bolted. Finally, more frustrated googling led to:

Top 5 Stretches For Knitting Pain And Stiffness from  KNITFreedom.

I swear after I did these 5 exercises, the pain in arm was noticeably reduced. Immediately. Now I feel pretty confident in my ability to meet those deadlines and cope with daily stress. I also came across a helpful video (see above) of hand exercises which I will also add to my routine. My hands haven’t given me much trouble yet, but at the pace I’m going why take the risk?

Here’s the moral of the story… If you truly love crochet, knitting, or any other handicraft, protect your hands, arms, neck, back, and tendons. Until our crafting robots arrive, you’ll need all these body parts and more to practice your craft. Take frequent breaks from stitching to stretch — at least every hour but the more often the better. If KNITFreedom’s stretches don’t get the twist out of your muscles, Berroco also has a great list of stretches you can try. Just don’t wait until you’re in pain to start taking care of yourself.